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“I hope they shouldn’t happen”: Social vulnerability and resilience to urban energy disruptions in a digital society in Scotland

Cox, Emily ORCID: 2023. “I hope they shouldn’t happen”: Social vulnerability and resilience to urban energy disruptions in a digital society in Scotland. Energy Research and Social Science 95 , 102901. 10.1016/j.erss.2022.102901

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Energy systems are changing rapidly, bringing new types of risks, and new forms of potential disruption to energy supplies. Our growing dependence on energy, particularly electricity, means that more than ever we need to plan for disruptions and be prepared for them. What happens during the disruption is important: we need to understand how individuals, communities and organisations experience the event, and what measures can be taken to reduce the overall impacts. This study investigates how people and communities in the city of Glasgow (Scotland) might respond to a lengthy, widespread disruption to energy supplies. A novel three-stage diary�interview methodology was developed to explore energy practices and expectations, and to understand how people's experience of disruptions may change in the coming decade. The results show that the most consistent determinant of participants' perceived resilience, over and above socio-demographic factors, is their expectations and their degree of dependency on routine. Our assumptions regarding people's vulnerability need to reflect the importance of digital dependency: in particular, age and income should not be seen as straightforward proxies, and the paper identifies a new set of ‘indicators of vulnerability’. Interdependent infrastructures are also crucial, yet underappreciated, and mean that people's ability to cope during a disruption will likely decrease over time in a non-linear ‘step-change’ fashion, as other sectors and services are affected. Community-level actions can improve resilience, and local scales may be more appropriate for identifying vulnerabilities than socio�demographic proxies, but this is only feasible if organisations and institutions are adequately resour

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
ISSN: 2214-6296
Funders: EPSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 November 2022
Date of Acceptance: 24 November 2022
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2023 17:02

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